The latest catalogue for Kensington ceramics dealer Simon Spero’s next exhibition has just landed on ATG’s Editorial desk.
It's his 30th catalogue in a tradition of
selling shows that goes back to 1972, numbering some 40 in all. The
43 pieces cover a period from 1745 to 1770, so that all of them fit
into a broad category of early English porcelain.
Almost everything on offer has come from a
private collection and has been chosen because it is interesting on
at least one and usually several levels, be it the influence of
another earlier ceramic product, the distinctive nature of its
modelling or decoration, its scarcity, or the fact that it
throws some new light on a particular aspect of porcelain
All of this is discussed in scholarly detail
in the respective catalogue entries, but just as illuminating are
Mr Spero's catalogue introductions - a highly readable mix of
scholarship and anecdote and that tells you as much about the
collectors who previously owned these pieces as it does about the
For example, his description of the 3in
(7.5cm) high Bow model of a Dismal Hound (pictured) is "one of the
most celebrated and most refined of the series of Bow animals of
the 1750s". Mr Spero goes on to inform readers that "it was
previously owned by the self-effacing and almost diffident John
Warrell, a florist in Colchester who assembled through the 1950s
and 1960s a remarkable collection of English porcelain and
pottery... His extensive collection included as many as 50 Bow
white figures and every Easter he would deploy them as decoration
in his two flower shops".
Another intriguing piece from the exhibition
is the 3¼in (9cm) wide box also pictured.
A passing glance at a piece with this type
of quayside mercantile decoration might tempt one to think it was
one of those Meissen porcelain snuff boxes of the 1740s. But
although that must be the inspiration for it, this is an English
enamel box made in London, very likely as a more affordable home
market alternative to the costly German product. This London
attribution is underscored by various inscriptions on the
merchants' packs includingNo 40 Xan... London;No 791 Londonand a
date of 1745 or 1755.
• English Porcelain and Enamels
1745-1770 runs at 3a Campden Street, London W8 7EP
from October 11-20 Tel: 020 7727 7413